On October 9, 2007, the Camden County Homeless Network Planning Committee held a successful Housing First Summit in Community Center in Collingswood, NJ. The event attracted more than one hundred twenty (120) participants. They spend the morning learning about the benefits and developing plans to implement housing first as part of their Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness.
During the morning and the afternoon the participants listened to a presentation by Mark Kinzly and Kevin Irwin Yale University on both the benefits of housing first and the challenges of housing substance abuse users. More than fifty (50) of the participants agreed to join the Camden County Housing First Collaborative. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 7th, 2008 at 9:30 a.m. at CPAC.
The event was co-sponsored by the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) and the Community Planning and Advocacy Council (CPAC). Monarch Housing Associates provided support. In addition to Camden County the following counties sent participants: Burlington, Cape May, Mercer and Salem.
Among the speakers were Jennifer Velez, pictured on the left, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services. She not only spoke of her departments commitment to ending homelessness but also of her family’s experience with homelessness.
Camden Mayor Gwendolyn A. Faison, pictured on the right, spoke about the moral responsibility for each of us to take care of our neighbors including the homeless.
Other speakers included:
Collingswood Commissioner Joan Leonard
Catherine DeCheser, CPAC President/CEO
Camden County Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez
Karen Talarico, Executive Director, Cathedral Kitchen
Samuel Miller, Regional Coordinator, US Interagency Council on Homelessness
More photographs and details will be published over the next few days about his important step in Camden County to implement a housing first approach as part of their efforts to end homelessness.